A few days ago, I updated my Facebook status describing how I found some old binders, notebooks, and folders with some writing and thoughts I had when I was finishing college, and learning how to move towards a goal of being a responsible adult. Now, over a decade later, I still can’t say I have figured out the adult thing, but I can say I’ve made progress.
I can admit I’m a bit of a pack rat. In some cases, I keep things because of sentimental value; maybe they remind me of an event, or maybe they just are things I believe I will eventually use. I tend to remember things vividly from years ago, and occasionally get a little too nostalgic due to that. So, if I have things that relate to a vivid memory, or signify a relationship of the past, I tend to keep it.
The other night, I came home from work and walked over to my overstuffed bookshelf. I thought I might have stashed some extra office/school supplies there that I could have taken to work to use for something. Instead, I started pulling out these binders, folders, and a notebook with a “title” written up on it in big sharpie handwriting. A part of me stared at disbelief as I had forgotten that I had stuffed these items away, intending to keep them for posterity.
I never found the supplies I thought I had. Instead, I found the 22/23 year old me, full of opinions, an awakening spirituality, and completely in love with writing. I found the imagination that I sometimes think has escaped from me as I’ve grown older, more mature, responsible. The kid part of me I strove to hold on to those years went down for a nap so long ago, and I wonder if she will ever wake up.
One of the notebooks was a journal a friend and I had kept my last summer at the job I had right out of college before the place went out of business. In the journal, my friend and I wrote about friendships (with coworkers and people we knew outside our little group), our philosophies and beliefs, poetry and short stories. Inside, I also used the notebook to detail out growing relationships I was making with people that, at the time, were consuming my world. In 2002, fresh out of college, optimistic that the world was at my feet, and boy, did I dream and want things bigger and grander than anything I ever did and got. Inside this one subject notebook, I poured out some of the biggest parts of who I was and what I wanted. Ironically, I also made promises and declarations in this notebook I later broke to myself. Ah, the mercurial me.
One of the best and worst parts of reading these materials this week was not the memory trip it conjured, but the realization that back then, so very few people knew me, or, for that matter, saw me. I have always been a bit of the quiet girl, keeping my feelings and emotions close. I can guarantee that some of the people closest to me in proximity knew nothing of what things I wrote, or believed, or hell, felt. The crushes, the falling in love, the intense spirituality building within me, centering me and giving me the confidence to believe, for once, I was okay. The knowledge that writing wasn’t just some hobby I liked to do on cold weather mornings, but an immense part of who I was as a person. And, the fact that writing brought to me so many connections to people so far away that matched my personality in ways I still can’t begin to explain to people. So many secrets back then. So much need for them.
Probably the best part of the trip down memory lane was the fact that I got to see my description of the beginning of one of the longest and fulfilling relationships of my adult life. Sure, living through that, I was aware of what I felt at the time, and what I personally saw, but writing it down for an audience outside of myself, I saw a bit of what I had forgotten about it. It was genuine, unintended, and fun. As it went, sometimes it hurt more than I could ever know things could hurt. But, it started as fun.
I need to get that back. That sort of fun. Ah, well…we shall see.